My research interest focuses on use of modern tools in Molecular Biology to overcome biotic and abiotic constrains of food production as well as enhancing the understanding of modern biotechnology. Specifically, my research revolves around five interrelated areas; i) long distance RNA trafficking between parasitic plants and their hosts, ii) RNA interference (RNAi) as a resistance mechanism against parasites – Striga and Cuscuta, iii) genetic engineering strategies for enhancing drought tolerance in tropical crops, iv) Agrobacterium rhizogenes transformation of cereals as a functional genomics tool for plant-parasite interactions, and v) molecular mechanisms of parasitic plants/host plants interactions.
- Runo S, David-Schwartz, R., Townsley, B., Machuka, J., Sinha, N. siRNAs Against Parasitic Plants: A Trojan Horse Approach. Bio-Earn/ VIRES Scientific Conference Harnessing Bioresources for Socia-economic Transformation for Eastern Africa; 2009 24th - 26th November, 2008; Speke Resort and Conference Centre Kampala Uganda, Kampala Uganda; 2009.
- Runo S, Oduor, R., Binnot, J., Machuka, J., Thomson, J. . Genetic transformation of tropical maize for drought tolerance. Third World Academy of Sciences Biosafenet workshop on Plant Abiotic Stress Tolerance 2009 10-12 June 2009; Rome, Italy; 2009.
- Runo S, David-Schwartz, R., Townsley, B., Machuka, J., Sinha, N. Biotechnological approaches to parasitic plants control Breeding and Seed Systems for African Crops 2007 26th - 29th March, 2007; Instituto de Investigacao Agraria de Mocambique (IIAM), Maputo Mozambique; 2007.
- Runo MS, David-Schwartz, R., Townsley, B., Machuka, J., Sinha, N. RNAi as a resistance mechanism against parasitic plants. International Symposium on Integrating New Technologies for Striga Control: Towards Ending the Witch-hunt 2006 November 5-11, 2006; Hilton HotelAddis Ababa, Ethiopia; 2006.
- Runo MS. Striga KNOX1 RNAi as a resistance mechanism in maize and sorghum. 48th annual maize genetics conference; 2006 9th-12th march 2006; Asilomar conference grounds. Pacific Grove, California USA; 2006.
- Runo MS. Striga KNOX1 RNAi as a resistance mechanism in maize. 47th annual maize genetics conference. Grand Geneva resort. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, USA.; 2005.
- Runo S, Townsley, B., Machuka, J., Sinha, N. . A strategy to make maize resistant to Striga. 2nd general meeting of The Rockefeller Foundation-supported program Biotechnology, Breeding and Seed Systems for African Crops. Safari Park hotel Nairobi, Kenya.; 2005.
- Runo S., Macharia, S., Alakonya, A.,Machuka, J., Sinha, N, Scholes, J.D. Striga parasitizes transgenic hairy roots of Zea mays and provides a tool for studying plant-plant Interactions. Plant Methods. 2012; In Press.
- Runo S. Engineering host derived resistance against plant parasites through RNA interference - Challenges and opportunities. Bioengineered Bugs. 2011;2(4):1-6.
- Runo S, Alakonya, A., Machuka, J., Sinha, N. RNA interference as a resistance mechanism against crop parasites in Africa: a ‘Trojan horse’ approach. Pest Manag Sci. 2011;67:129–36.
- David-Schwartz R, Runo S, Townsley B, Machuka J, Sinha N. Long-distance transport of mRNA via parenchyma cells and phloem across the host–parasite junction in Cuscuta. New Phytol. 2008;179:1 133–1 41.
- Runo MS, Muluvi, G.M., Odee, D.W. Analysis of genetic structure of Melia volkensii (Gurke.) populations using random amplified polymorphic DNA. African Journal of Biotechnology. 2004;3:421-5.
- Adam O.R., Matheka M.J., Runo S.R., Ali A.M., Kuria A., Masiga C., Mugoya C., Machuka J. Effects of auxin and source of explants on callus induction of tropical maize. Biotechnology 2012: In press.
- Bedada LT, Seth MS, Runo SM, Tefera W, Machuka J. Regenerability of Elite Tropical Maize (Zea mays L.) Inbred Lines Using Immature Embryo Explants. African Journal of Biotechnology. 2012;In Press.
- Bedada LT, Seth MS, Runo SM, Tefera W, Machuka J. Plant Regeneration of Ethiopian Tropical Maize (Zea mays L.) Genotypes. Biotechnology. 2011;10(6 ):506-13.
- Alakonya, A., Koenig, D., Kumar, R., Kimura, S., Townsley, B., Runo, S., Garces, H., Kang, J., Machuka, J., Sinha, N. "Interspecific RNAi of STM disrupts Cuscuta pentagona plant parasitism. Plant Cell 2011;under review.